Update from the land of Aus!
As of tomorrow it's officially been 3 weeks since I've been home. Crazy how fast time flys! I'm adjusting well to life in Australia and the city. After the first week of getting on the wrong train, tram, and bus several times, I feel I've finally mastered public transportation.
Teaching is going great! School years run year round here with the new school year beginning at the start of February. Because of this I am currently substituting in a different classroom each day. Although I was not initially trilled with the idea of not having a steady classroom to go to, I've been absolutely loving the experience! I love being able to work with students at different ages, ability levels, religions, socioeconomic status, and races each day. I've been fortunate enough to work is a variety of school stemming from an early developmental autistic school to Islamic school. There's so many stories I can already tell and I've only been in the classroom 10 days!
Although I'm halfway across the world, there's not many differences from the U.S. I've noticed. I'm still adjusting to the fact Aussies drive on the opposite side of the road. Driving on the other side of the road may seem like a small thing, but that also means people walk on the opposite side of the sidewalk, you get on and off a bus on the left side, move to the left side of a shopping aisle, etc... I can't tell you the amount of times I've almost been ran over by a bike, shopping cart, or swam of people!
The food here is also not as great, I feel. I miss my farm fresh pork and beef! (Little plug for my dad there ) Food is labeled and named similar to things found in an American grocery store, but don't quite taste the same. Maybe I just have crazy tastebuds, too!
Big news from this week is the (99%) possibility of moving into my new home soon! Within the next 18 hours (can you tell I'm counting down?!) we'll hear back if our application has officially been approved. With a 1% vacancy rate and competitive housing market here in Melbourne, we're beyond lucky to not only find a place, but a beautiful, new, fully furnished home. I'm still pinching myself that it has quartz counter tops and real hardwood floors. (I've watched too much HDTV) Send some good vibes our way ensuring that all of our paperwork will be finalized soon.
Other things to note: -Although Melbourne is a large city (second largest in Australia having 4.2 million people) it's quite safe I've found. I've gone many places by myself (sorry mom) and have yet to feel unsafe. Compared to American cities, it is also much, much cleaner! Rarely do you see garbage on the street or over full garbage cans. There are also very few homeless people around. -Contrary to stereotypical beliefs, it is actually quite cold here right now. (Although I'm usually cold, I have grown up in Minnesota all my life so I do know what cold actually is!) The seasons are opposite of back home so while you are transitioning out of summer into fall, we are transitioning from winter into spring. In about a month we will no longer have windy 50 degree weather. (I packed several swimming suits but not a single warm coat. Good thinking, Megan!) -There are some things that are pronounced or referred to differently here. I've compiled a list of the most notable ones below. - trash is called "rubbish" ie: rubbish can - teachers get called their first names ie: Ms. Megan - sweatshirts are "jumpers" - cafeterias are called "canteens" - erasers are called "rubbers" - backpacks are called "bags" - rugs are called "mats" - Along with many more that have currently slipped my mind.
I miss and love you all! Hugs and Kisses from Melbourne, Megan